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Full text of "The Cambridge Natural History"

CIVETS AND  GENETS                              403

Fam. 3. Viverridae.—The Civets, Genets, and their kind
differ from the Cats in a number of points. They form, however,
by no means so uniform an assemblage as do the Cats ; so that the
difficulty is, as Dr. Mivart has remarked, not to divide them, into
sub-families, but to avoid making too many. But before pro-
ceeding to subdivide the family we shall describe the characters
of the family and contrast them with those of the Feliclae.
All the "Viverridae are comparatively small creatures. The
head and body are more elongate than in the Cats. The fingers and
toes are generally five; but there are some (e.g. Cynictis) where
the formula of the toes is as in the Cats, i.e. four on the hind-foot.
In the Suricate the fingers are also reduced to four. The claws are
perhaps never completely retractile,1 and often are not at all so.
The dental formulae of the genera differ considerably; but in the
majority there are more teeth than in. the ITelidae. The well-
known sharp-pointed, conical papillae of the Cab's tongue are not
present. The majority have a scent gland beneath the tail, from
which the perfume civet is derived. There are a number of
osteological characters which differentiate the two families; thus
the alisphenoid canal is sometimes present. The bulla is divided,
as in the Cats, but is externally constricted.
It- seems clear from some at any rate of the characters, i.e. the
more complete dentition, the five-fingered hands and feet, the
non-retractile claws, etc., that the Civets are on a lower level of
specialisation than are the Cats.
Sub-Fam. 1. Kuplerinae.—The genus JEupleres is in many
ways the most aberrant type of Viverrid, and is placed in a
sub-family, Euplerinae. Its salient feature is the very peculiar
dentition : peculiar in the small size of the canines, the canine-like
character of the anterior premolars, and the resemblance of the pre-
molars to molars. In some of the characters of the teeth, JZupleres
is Insectivore-Jike, and was formerly grouped with that family.
There are four premolars and two molars in each jaw on each
side. It has five toes upon both fore- and hind-limbs; the skull
is very slender. It has no alisphenoid canaL The only species,
JK goudotii, is of an olive-grey colour, with dark bands across the
shoulders in. the young. The nose and upper lip are grooved.
There are no scent glands. It appears to burrow in the ground,
and possibly contents itself with a diet of worms. JSwpl&res is a
1 The retractility is most marked in the Hinsangs.